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Lenovo's ThinkPad X230T Tablet PC, Tested And Reviewed

ThinkPad X230T: Keeping Tablet PCs Alive

Although they're both useful and entertaining, tablets like Apple's newest iPad fail to make our lives any simpler. As much as we'd like to travel with only the weight of a tablet in our bags, there's simply no way to get around our need for content creation, even if that's as simple as banging away at a Word document. And content creation is what separates tablet PCs like Lenovo's X230T from tablets.

Tablets are good enough for what they're designed to do: read a book, browse the Web, watch a video. But they're difficult to type on quickly. And multi-tasking is nearly impossible. Forget about using powerful Windows-based applications. Really, to get the best of that world and what tablets offer, you have to pack multiple devices.

That's a real bummer, though. Our bags are already loaded with cameras, phones, and batteries. Adding a tablet and notebook only serves to make us realize that we're slaves to technology. Often times, it's just as easy to leave the tablet at home in favor of the more useful gadgets.

Lenovo ThinkPad X230T

Tablet PCs attempt to conjoin the worlds of tablets and notebooks. Granted, the battery life of a tablet PC can't come anywhere near what you expect from an iOS- or Android-based device, and we're a long ways away from a tablet PC with such a compact form factor. But then again, products like Lenovo's ThinkPad X230T level copious processing power at Windows, allowing you to run heavy-duty applications in Windows without delay.

Nevertheless, for their benefits, tablet PCs continue to merely fill a niche. Samsung's Series 7 Slate was the last tablet PC to pass through our labs, and that was almost a year ago. The X230T is the first Ivy Bridge-based tablet PC, and we'd absolutely recommend it to the business professional on the go. A built-in keyboard makes this convertible better-suited to offices and classrooms than standalone slates that rely on external connectivity for keyboard functionality.

Though tablet PCs are rare, we may see more variety once Microsoft's Surface emerges later this year. Initially, the Surface is expected to be limited to ARM-based hardware and a more tightly-controlled software ecosystem. However, we expect a more flexible model centering on Intel's x86 platform in 2013. Until then, power users looking for a Windows 7-based tablet will have to be content with the X230T. Lenovo deserves a lot of credit for keeping alive this endangered form factor—but one is a very lonely number.

  • serhat359
    Ctrl+Alt+Del as a hotkey!? Good thinking.
    Reply
  • greghome
    The problem I see with the X-T series Convertible tablets though, is that for the same price I can purchase a X230 and a Thinkpad Tablet and still have money left.

    I can imagine a market for it, but once the Thinkpad Tablet 2 launches with Windows 8, I'd say there market would grow even smaller. just my 2 cents :)
    Reply
  • ojas
    Hmmm interesting to see the A5 just about manage to keep up with the two year old Atom N450.

    Anyway, Tom's: X1 Carbon review please! :D

    Read that its trackpad is best-in-class for a Windows laptop.
    Reply
  • Zetto
    These machines should come with the leather sleeve included, it really comes into it's own in the sleeve.
    I've carried an older model around all day for years, the battery lasts 8 hrs easy with a good power profile setup and intermittent use.
    OneNote is gold on it.
    My users often borrow it just for it's presentation benefits as well.
    This new model will shine with Win 8.
    Reply
  • jaquith
    As a past owner of the IBM/Lenovo Convertible I very rarely used it as a 'Tablet.' However, with Windows 8, and I don't like Windows 8, you'd probably use the 'Tablet' mode a lot more.

    I use an HP EliteBook Mobile Workstation and have little desire to go back to the Tablets.

    Originally I wanted folks to be able to 'sign contracts' out in the field, but in practice Paper wins.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    Lets see:
    Big, thick, heavy
    Ugly
    Crappy battery life

    When you think about it I could:
    Buy an Asus Zenbook 1080p for $999
    Google Nexus tablet for $199
    Both combined would be as thin and light (or thinner/lighter) than this lenovo contraption while offering superior battery life and screen quality (at least on the ultrabook).

    This product just seems like a fail.
    Reply
  • cknobman - you're really not the target market for this thing. They're fantastic for health care, home health, etc.
    Reply
  • greghome
    cknobmanLets see:Big, thick, heavyUglyCrappy battery lifeWhen you think about it I could:Buy an Asus Zenbook 1080p for $999Google Nexus tablet for $199Both combined would be as thin and light (or thinner/lighter) than this lenovo contraption while offering superior battery life and screen quality (at least on the ultrabook).This product just seems like a fail.

    From your post, I'd say you've never really used a IBM Thinkpad before.
    The Thinkpad lines were never meant for normal consumers like you. If you've compared to built quality as well, the Thinkpads, especially the T and W series are wonders.

    and unlike the ZenBooks or Macbooks......you can step on them and the hinge will be able to stand it.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    greghomeFrom your post, I'd say you've never really used a IBM Thinkpad before.The Thinkpad lines were never meant for normal consumers like you. If you've compared to built quality as well, the Thinkpads, especially the T and W series are wonders.and unlike the ZenBooks or Macbooks......you can step on them and the hinge will be able to stand it.
    Actually I've used ThinkPads a lot as I am a software developer. Two of my last 4 jobs issued them to the developers as their primary workstations. ThinkPad build quality, usability, design are all top notch for business users.

    My comment was in response to the way this article was phrased. This article was not necessarily written in the context of a business user and actually was slanted more towards personal use and its ability to replace a tablet and laptop combo while traveling.

    In that context I do see this product as a fail.
    Reply
  • Wisecracker
    I thought it was common knowledge that Acer and Compal have Trinity Win* Tab-hybrids coming out next month -- may even be articles on Toms about it.

    I can't really recall but pricing was something "less than $900" with Brazos II models substantially less.

    Reply